The Forbes Advocate newspaper
A BRONZE statue of naked dog-headed men and a rabbit-headed woman forming a human pyramid has divided the rural town of Forbes.
The sculpture by Sydney artists Gillie and Marc Schattner is meant to symbolise a “perfect balance of community and friendship”. And while Forbes is not short of community and friendship, not everyone is happy about the statue — which has been labelled “disgusting”, “feral”, “ugly”, and an “eyesore”.
One wit even described it as “an excellent bottle opener”. The statue was on loan for 12 months and many locals now want it gone. The Schattners said the deal was that the town would pay to keep the statue, which is worth about $70,000. But when The Forbes Advocate newspaper asked readers whether the town should raise $20,000 to keep The Pyramid, “It turned into a lynch mob in terms of what was said,” Marc Schattner said. “I know there’s genitalia and that there but it’s about diversity.”
The artists are now prepared to give the sculpture to Forbes absolutely free, saying there was more at stake than money. “The whole question is how contemporary art has been not just rejected but denigrated by the community at large,” he said. In the lead-up to the 2014 NRL Grand Final, rival fans dressed the statue alternately in Bulldogs and Rabbitohs team colours.
Forbes Mayor Phyllis Miller said the social media hate-fest over the sculpture was “a load of rubbish”. “I love (the sculpture),” Ms Miller said. “I know my community is divided over it. I find it quite bizarre that anyone can find anything sexual in it. I know there’s genitalia and that there but it’s about diversity. And I even see humour in it.” Asked why people were objecting, Ms Miller said it was about “boobs and doodles”. Forbes Arts Society president Keith Mullette, a retired scientist, said the nudity of the statue had brought out Forbes’ “conservative heritage”. Mr Mullette said he loved the statue and it had already drawn tourism dollars to the town. “It’s been the most photographed thing in town for the past 12 months,” he said.